Early RAGBRAI stop peddles advice to eastern Iowa hosts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Early RAGBRAI stop peddles advice to eastern Iowa hosts

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© Courtesy: Agency Two Twelve © Courtesy: Agency Two Twelve
WATERLOO (KWWL) - As the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa rolls on, Monday featured one of the shortest legs along the route. That's a good thing considering the heat. Cyclists went from Okoboji to Emmetsburg on Monday, which is about 41 miles.

As eastern Iowa prepares for a swarm of cyclists later this week, KWWL caught up with towns that already have RAGBRAI in the rear view mirror to see what our communities can expect.

Okoboji Mayor Mary VanderWoude says she has sore feet, but says there were no major problems overnight. Okoboji served as a host city Sunday night. She said many cyclists could not believe Iowa actually had lakes. RAGBRAI is such a big deal for communities to showcase themselves, perhaps with the largest crowds they'll ever see. With that, comes a big economic boost. One study estimates that boost at about $3 million a day along the route.

Rock Valley was the first overnight stop on Saturday, hosting RAGBRAI for the first time ever. KWWL spoke with City Administrator Tom Van Maanen, who said the crowd reached 25,000, or about seven times the size of Rock Valley. Van Maanen said there were about 10,000 registered riders, with 7,000 more who were unregistered. The city estimated about 5,000 people, who had nothing to do with RAGBRAI, came to town just to experience the event.

The Sioux County Sheriff's Office says seven people were arrested for public intoxication in Rock Valley, but overall, law enforcement said things went as well as expected.

KWWL asked Van Maanen if he had any advice for those cities playing host later this week. He said, "Be ready. RAGBRAI is a great crowd and a lot of cyclists do this year after year because of Iowa's hospitality... so put out your welcome mat and show them you appreciate them coming to your community."

RAGBRAI comes to Waverly on Thursday night and makes its way through eastern Iowa before the final stop in Guttenberg on Saturday.

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